SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A man riding out Hurricane Matthew was found dead in his Isle of Hope home after a tree tore through the roof, authorities said.
The man, who's identity hasn't been released pending notification of next of kin, was found by a neighbor, Chatham County Coroner William Wessinger told The Greenville News.
His wife and children had evacuated before the storm hit.
Georgia state police will turn back anyone east of Interstate 95 trying to make their way back to the coast, a situation that likely will be in effect no earlier than midday Sunday, the state's head of emergency management says.
"It will take time, likely days, to restore power, inspect bridges and clear and repair roads, said Jim Butterworth, director of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency. "We recognize evacuees are eager to return home and appreciate everyone’s patience and focus on personal safety as we ensure it is safe to do so.”
For those who stayed east of the interstate, there still have been access issues as bridges have to be inspected, trees are moved from roads, power lines are secured and floodwaters recede.
One Tybee Island resident after another has stopped at a roadblock at the Bull River bridge, a key lifeline on the highway that serves as the only access to the barrier island from Savannah.
A tree has fallen over the bridge, and they're being told that they can't cross until a state transportation official says it's safe and Hurricane Matthew's storm surge has passed.
The storm, which made landfall near McClellanville, South Carolina, Saturday morning as a Category 1 hurricane, roared off the Georgia coast through the night Friday and early morning hours Saturday as a Category 2 storm. More than 300 deaths have been attributed to the storm.
Some Tybee Island residents are angry. Others just shrug their shoulders and say they wish they hadn't left.
A group showed up with power tools and had just cleared a path when police arrived to tell them they couldn't pass.
"We just want to see if there's any damage," said Truman Blevins, who has lived on the island for 3 years.
Blevins said he decided late yesterday to evacuate.
"The more I got to thinking about it, it just looked like it was going to be kind of crazy so I figured I'd just go," he said. "I wish I would have stayed."
A few stayed behind. Tybee police told them that they did so at their own risk.
It's uncertain when the bridge might open, but residents advised it would be best not to try to wait around. Police led a caravan of local, state and federal first responders and government cleanup crews through.
Inland, in historic, tree-lined downtown Savannah, the damage was largely downed trees and power outages.
Windows that weren't boarded up in the city generally managed to make it through the storm.
The bulk of the damage happened in the pre-dawn hours. Flooding, widely feared as the storm approached, was confined more to predictably flood-prone districts.
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